Thursday, May 02, 2019

Are eScooters dangerous?

Similar to bike share and car share programs, electric scooter companies tout them as an innovative and environmentally friendly form of transportation which gets commuters out of their cars. Scooter companies proclaim them a solution to the “first mile, last mile” problem, i.e., a way to get commuters to and from mass transit stations and work places. 

Why are scooters dangerous? 
  • Riders are less visible to car drivers:  Scooters are easily hidden from view by objects on or off the roadway.
  • No barrier between scooter rider and road: Like bicyclists and motorcyclists, scooter riders do not have any protection, like the metal body of a vehicle around them. They do not have seat belts or airbags to protect them. 
  • Road hazards: Scooter riders may crash as the result of hitting or swerving to avoid potholes, gravel, roadway debris, or uneven surfaces.
  • Scooter instability: The scooters can be unstable because the scooters have small wheels and a short wheelbase, and the riders have a high center of gravity. Going over even a minor bump in the roadway, which a bicycle could handle with no problem, can cause a scooter rider to lose balance and crash. Even the slight curb that a rider must go over when transitioning from the street to the apron of a driveway can cause a rider to crash.
  • Inexperienced riders: A large percentage of Bird, Lime, Jump, and Lyft riders have never ridden one before. No special licensing or training is required. Download the app, enter your credit card number, and you are permitted to ride the scooter without proving your ability to safely do so.
  • Panic stop: If a rider brakes hard, the front wheel can lock up, throwing the rider off the scooter.
  • High-risk behavior: Scooter riders are often young and push the boundaries with high-risk behavior, like not wearing helmets. They may also ride on sidewalks, with more than one rider at a time, against traffic, or while intoxicated or impaired.
  • Vandalized scooters: Some people who are not fans of electric scooters are vandalizing them. They are cutting the brake cable. If an unknowing rider hops on one of these scooters, disaster can result. 
The common sense tips are the easiest to follow:
1. Buy a bargain bike helmet at the very least. 
2. Don't use your phone.
3. Buy a cheap flashlight.